What happens when two teams that have been struggling as of late play each other? The answer is simple one team comes away with some much needed confidence and momentum, the other continues in its struggles. Such was the case tonight with the Hokies, as they welcomed in the Boston College Eagles. Both teams have been in the cellar in the ACC this season. Both teams are in need of a win, not only for morale but for momentum headed into the ACC tournament.
Boston College was hoping to create a winning streak with a win over the Hokies tonight. In the first half it look as if they were in fact going to get that winning streak. The Eagles came out shooting the ball extremely well, using two separate 11-0 runs to race out to a 41-28 lead at the half time buzzer. The Eagles shot a fantastic 68 percent from the field in the first half, facing little resistant from the Hokies defense. Boston College only averages 65 points a game, and in the first half they had more than two thirds their average.
The start of the second half was much more of the same with the Eagles pushing the lead to 22. However, that toughness I have been talking about for weeks now showed up. The first half the Hokies played no defense, and at the beginning of the second half it looked like they might continue to play very little defense. The Hokies suddenly clamped down on the defensive end, and used a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 8. The defensive pressure continued, and eventually the lead would get as low as 6 but no lower. The Eagles were able to salt the game away at the free throw line, and the fans at Cassell went home un-happy.
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Boston College leading scorer Olivier Hanlan was for the most part held in check, only scoring 15 points, doing most of his damage in the first half. However, Hanlan was one of 4 Eagles in double figures. Boston College was led by Dimitri Batten, who scored a career high 18 points. Batten shouldered the scoring load in the second half, as the Hokies looked to keep Hanlan in check.
The Hokies clamped down on the defensive end in the second half, but their offense was the same both halves. All year Virginia Tech has depended on the three point shot to keep them in games. Tonight was no different. The Hokies hoisted up 20 shots from deep, but only 7 of them managed to find the bottom of the net. Adam Smith contributed 3 of those makes in route to his 22 point night. Smith was the only Hokie in double figures, as Buzz Williams still is in search of that second scoring option to go along with his talented junior.
Virginia Tech has played extremely hard all year long, however lately there have no positive results recently. It is important for the Hokies to see some results from this hard work. The Hokies staged a ferocious comeback, only to come up just short again. This was a game that was a very winnable one for the Hokies. However, it was not to be. Buzz Williams will now turn their attention to a matchup on Saturday with Miami, were the Hokies could possibly play spoiler with a win.